Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Drives You To Write

Sitting at the kitchen table a few mornings ago, I realized something - writing is addictive.

Not what you imaged I realized? Sitting there jotting down notes of paper, penwhat reviews I needed to do, I realized that sometimes I can’t help but write. More over, I want and need to write. It doesn’t matter if it’s a review, a blog post, a note or just my ‘to-do’ list - I have to write. I have to put pen to paper, if only to scribble. Maybe that’s why I tend to collect pens and mechanical pencils. Smile

I’m sure it probably has something to do with 30-plus years of writing newspaper articles. It just becomes a part of you.

Then I wondered how is it if you are an author?

Are you consumed by writing? Does the desire come in phases where you find yourself jotting down thoughts on anything you can find? Does the need to write strike you at odd times, odd places? Do the voices inside your head ever sleep? When they sleep, does it worry you that they might not wake up? Do you feel compelled to take your laptop with you everywhere you go?

If you’re an author, have you ever been so immersed in the words you need to write that you lost all sense of time and place? If so, was the work some of the best you’ve done or did it have to be rewritten at a slower pace with more thought?

As you can tell, the need to write also leads me to question after question. Often it seems I question everything. However, when it comes time to pose a question, I sometimes draw a blank. I think I do this because I focus too much on a specific topic and forget to get lost in the subject and let it lead me to the next question and the next.

During my years as a reporter, I always tried to take detailed notes about everything. I didn’t always use all the information I gathered, but I had it just in case. I found that as I wrote my article, it lead to other questions and I wanted to have the answers.

I also tried to see the article from the readers point of view. I knew all the background information, but they didn’t. What other questions would they want answers to that I could give them? When I finished an article I always tried to read over it to see if it caused me to ask additional questions or want more information.

One of the things I miss about the newspaper business is covering trials, especially murder cases. I enjoyed taking all the information from the trial and condensing into an article. It was hard at times when I was on a short deadline, but it was interesting. I always had questions that were never answered during the trial.

Another aspect of writing I miss is letter writing. My best friend (who lives in Texas) and I use to write letters just about every week. They were usually several pages long and covered every topic imaginable. We do good now to send each other an occasional card and we email once or twice a month. There is something special about letter writing. It can be fun between friends or romantic between lovers. Just think about all the letters from World War I and II that couples wrote. Nowadays I image soldiers and their families do more emailing. Do you write letters? Is it a lost art you wish you did more of? Do you have any old love letters tied with ribbon and stored away?

Back to blog writing. In asking questions of the authors who visit here, I try to tailor the questions to their writing and their current release. Sometimes I wonder if I should ask questions unrelated to this. But then, the purpose of their visit is to let readers know about their new book. What are your thoughts on this? As a reader, do you want to know other things about a writer than about their current work? As an author, do you want to talk about other things or focus on your writing and the new book? Or maybe a combination of both would work?

When the desire to write comes over you, you begin to write and then have to stop - is it easy to get back into that grove of writing when you can return or do you have to wait until the mood strikes again? Crazy question - is there a trigger that helps you write? Is there a certain song or smell or setting that helps your creative juices flow?

100_1521I appreciate you taking time today to read my ramblings about writing and nutty questions. So, are you driven to write? If so, what are you driven to write - notes, reviews, blog posts, to-do-list, novels or something else?

BTW, the flower photo is my way of sharing a bit of spring with everyone as we deal with this crazy, unpredictable weather we’re having. These bloomed out yesterday just in time for the severe weather alert today.


  1. Hi Mason .. I quite understand your desire to jot ideas down; though I'm not an author I blog - and am constantly reaching for a pen or pencil preferably! .. and making notes - or ripping out interesting articles for later on. There's always a thread that inter-relates to another note/subject I want to write on ..

    Little post it slips too - all over the place .... the papers and jottings need to get into Word and out onto the blog!

    I do write letters - many of them .. and that will continue in a microscopic format into the future - people love letters or news etc ... but I do use email and the phone ... that side of life has to settle down too ..

    Spring - wonderful to think it's on its way ... we're having terrible winds, a fair amount of rain but the temperature is fairly warm.

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Hilary, I can see we are alike in our need to constantly jot down ideas and thoughts for blog posts. I have been known to write thoughts on just about any type of paper handy.

    Hope the terrible winds settle down a bit for you.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Whoa. Lots of questions there. Oddly, about the only thing I write on paper anymore are do-lists or notes taken at meeting. Most of my writing (including letters to a couple people who don't use e-mail)is done at a keyboard. For capturing ideas on the go, I use a voice recorder.

    The picture of the daffodils struck a cord. Mine were tricked into coming up by a January thaw again this year. Followed, of course, by a hard freeze. I lost them, and my tulips, last year the same way. So disheartening.

  4. Mason - I think writing really is addictive. At least it is for me. I get ideas and feel that I have to write them out. The act of writing makes them real if that makes sense. And once I start writing about an idea it's definitely hard to stop.

  5. Linda, I do tend to ask too many questions sometimes. :) I like the idea of a recorder. It comes in handy when driving and thoughts come to mind. Sorry to hear about your flowers. So far we haven't had a hard freeze but today we're having strong winds and are under a tornado watch and warning all day.

  6. Margot, I know exactly what you mean about making the words seem real. I know that time when you're really into writing can be problematic for dealing with everyday life, but it feels so good while you're there.

  7. Hm - we're expecting 6-8 inches of snow tonight - so I appreciate the pic!!

    Writing is addictive! I love having the words flow out onto the laptop - nothing like getting to know the characters and follow them as they solve their troubles. I do sometimes hit blocks that slow me down, but it's never during the drafting time - it's always during editing (I'm verrrrrrry slow!).

    I tend to repeat the ideas over and over when I'm not near the laptop - I don't write down notes - I just lose them anyway :)

  8. Jemi, hope the snow is too bad for you. We've had tornadoes around us today, but we were fortunate and only had rain with a bit of wind. I had to laugh at your comment about losing the notes. I make out a list of what to-do that day and before I turn around twice, I've misplaced it.

  9. Yes, I have been lost in time while writing. I love it when it happens because the word count for that session is usually high and the quality better than on the days I'm multi-tasking and allowing my mind to wander.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.